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Fluffybunny

Bush: Diversity on high court desirable...

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Fluffybunny

I think that Bush may need to look at his definition of diversity again, as the folks he is aiming for all have the same mindset...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush hinted on Monday that his next nominee for the Supreme Court would be a woman or a minority, saying that "diversity is one of the strengths of the country."

The president also expressed optimism that the Senate would confirm John Roberts as chief justice this week -- which seems virtually certain.

Bush, asked about his next nominee, said "I will pick a person who can do the job. But I am mindful that diversity is one of the strengths of the country." The president is under pressure from many quarters -- including his wife -- to pick a woman or a minority for the seat of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring.

Two-thirds of the 100 senators -- Republican and Democrats alike -- had already announced their support of Roberts, the conservative federal appeals court judge, as the successor to the late William H. Rehnquist before the Senate even started its final debate Monday afternoon. Underplaying Roberts' near-certain confirmation, Bush said he was cautiously optimistic that Roberts would be approved.

The Senate and the White House will focus both on Roberts and the upcoming replacement for the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor this week, 19 years after the late William H. Rehnquist was sworn in as chief justice.

At the start of the floor debate on Roberts' nomination, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, called him "the brightest of the bright."

Roberts, 50, is the first nominee to the nation's high court since 1994, and was considered to be one of the nation's top appellate lawyers before being promoted to the U.S. Appeals Court by Bush in 2003. He argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court, becoming very familiar with the eight justices he will lead as chief justice.

"The word is that the justices very much applaud his nomination to be chief justice," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania. "He has the potential, almost from a running start, to bring a new day and a new era to the Supreme Court."

Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, expect Roberts to be confirmed by Thursday, and Bush was expected to make his next selection for the Supreme Court soon after that.

His Democratic supporters say they're still worried about how Roberts -- Rehnquist's former Supreme Court clerk -- will rule on the bench, but he is undeniably qualified for the position of chief justice.

"Judge Roberts' impeccable legal credentials, his reputation and record as a fair-minded person, and his commitment to modesty and respect for precedent have persuaded me that he will not bring an ideological agenda," said Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, one of three Judiciary Committee Democrats who crossed party lines and voted for Roberts.

It takes a majority vote of the Senate to confirm a judicial nominee, and all 55 Republicans are expected to unify behind Roberts' nomination.

Thirteen of the 44 Democrats have declared their support, the latest being Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana on Sunday. That easily gives Roberts more votes than the last conservative nominee, Clarence Thomas.

Thomas was confirmed 52-48 in 1991. President Clinton's two nominees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, were confirmed 96-3 and 87-9, respectively.

Democrats opposing Roberts say they're afraid the former lawyer in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations will be staunchly conservative like Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia.

They question Roberts' commitment to civil rights and expressed concern that he might overturn the 1973 court ruling that established the right to abortion. The White House refused to release paperwork from Roberts' time as a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration, and the nominee refused to fully answer Democrats' questions during his confirmation hearing two weeks ago.

Sen. Evan Bayh, a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, introduced Roberts to the Senate Judiciary Committee for the confirmation hearings. But he will vote against him, he said.

"I cannot vote to confirm, not because I oppose John Roberts, but because we simply do not know enough about his views on critical issues to make a considered judgment," Bayh said.

The limited information from the nominee's paper record raised troubling issues about Roberts' judicial temperament, said Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minnesota.

"I am deeply concerned that he and President Bush's next nominee will shift the Supreme Court close to the extreme right for many years to come," Dayton said.

Like Dayton, senators likely will use their speeches and votes to warn Bush -- and other senators -- of what they expect when the White House makes its selection to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, said he thinks the president might name a successor within days of Roberts' confirmation. O'Connor often has been a swing vote, a majority maker whose retirement could signal a shift on the court on many contentious issues.

Some say Democrats are using the Roberts confirmation to prepare for a battle over the O'Connor vacancy. "Voting in favor would put senators in a better position to oppose later or a vote in opposition would put the president on notice that he better put somebody up who was acceptable to a broad spectrum of senators," Specter said.

Democrats say their planned votes shows their senators are allowed to think for themselves, instead of being forced to toe a party line.

"Republicans are saying take the politics out of it, but they all marched in lockstep. Democrats made their mind up independently," said Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the head of the Senate Democratic campaign committee.

CNN

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bathory
I think that Bush may need to look at his definition of diversity again, as the folks he is aiming for all have the same mindset...

so what you are saying is that the High Court is full of conservatives? last i looked it was quite the opposite, so in fact by appointing a conservative, he would indeed be diversifying it:P

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LarryOldtimer

So where in the Constitution does it provide that the Supreme Court should be "balanced" in any way? In case you haven't figured it out yet, the President gets to nominate replacements for the court, and the Senate has to concur. It only figures that when the President is conservative, the nominees will be conservative . . . that is the way it is supposed to work. With Clinton we got Ginsberg, a flaming liberal, but technically qualified, and with Bush we get Roberts and other conservatives. The political process working as it was designed to do. :yes:

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Andy_R

Give me a break; this is how it works.

Clinton appointed a bunch of bleeding heart liberals for 8 years and there was nothing Republicans could do about it.

Now it's our turn. :P

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artymoon

So where in the Constitution does it provide that the Supreme Court should be "balanced" in any way? In case you haven't figured it out yet, the President gets to nominate replacements for the court, and the Senate has to concur. It only figures that when the President is conservative, the nominees will be conservative . . . that is the way it is supposed to work. With Clinton we got Ginsberg, a flaming liberal, but technically qualified, and with Bush we get Roberts and other conservatives. The political process working as it was designed to do. :yes:

Right you are :tu:

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